I used to think it was way too clichéd to chalk up homophobia to repressed, inverted gay desires, but I swear

Straight male clients will refuse to walk into a brothel that has a male gigolo on the premises, for fear of being pegged as gay or because there might be gay customers there, he said.

And as various Republicans have made abundantly clear over the last few years, people who are that concerned with making sure everyone knows how manly, straight, and DEFINITELY NOT GAY they are, well…you know. I knew boys in first grade that weren’t this paranoid about cooties from girls, for fuck’s sake.

Switching gears a bit: One of my favorite amusements is listening to prank calls. I just love the surreal aspect of people being called out of the blue by someone they don’t know saying all sorts of crazy shit, and having to adjust on the fly. Anyway, as you might expect, once the victim has recovered their wits somewhat, they start returning the abuse, and when both parties are male, you can expect a lot of generic “yo mama” insults, and, more germane to our topic, the usual homophobic kind. The really gobsmacking thing is the number of times that a victim can seamlessly transition from calling their tormentor a faggot, cocksucker, etc. to threatening to, uh, shall we say, anally and orally violate them should they ever manage to find out who and where they are. It’s even funnier to note how often the people making those threats are your stereotypical rednecks, suburban gangstas and other meatheads obsessed with proving their machismo.

Dudes. I know there’s this whole thing about how only the guy playing the traditional female role is “gay”, but let’s clear this up if we can: basically, having sexual intercourse with other guys is what makes you gay. Doesn’t matter if you’re pitching or catching. Walking into a building where gay guys happen to be doesn’t do it. Talking to them, being friendly with them, even touching them — none of those things actually make you gay. It’s all about the sex. Conversely, if you do have sex with other dudes, no amount of troglodyte chest-thumping or violence will change that fact. Omar Little was more hardcore than any of you, and no one would deny that he was gay, least of all him. If only you all could just relax and accept it, we wouldn’t have this confused mixture of sexual and violent urges which, of course, reaches its unfortunate pinnacle in the various forms of ultimate fighting. (The best thing Sacha Baron Cohen ever did was the scene in Brüno where he made out with a guy in the caged ring. The raw anguish on all those macho morons’ faces as they felt their worlds collapsing was such a beautiful sight.)

A friend and I, back in our late teens, used to delight in provoking our local rednecks with our extra-long hair, supplemented by things like long, dangly earrings (in both ears, too, back when that weird rule about a pierced right ear signifying homosexuality was still in effect). I’m beginning to think it was the most radical and socially subversive thing I’ve ever done.